Now, have you ever shopped for the cheapest wedding ring? What about the cheapest heart specialist? Maybe you’re looking for the cheapest lawyer or financial advisor?
That sounds kind of silly. There are times when it is good to price shop and be financially wise about your purchase. But then there are other times when “cheap” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind! However, I believe Christianity has become “cheap” to us. America has been sold a bill of goods of “cheap grace”. We have been told that salvation is easy and that it’s “free”. While technically it is true (you don’t have to pay money for it), there is very little “free” about salvation. After all, it cost Jesus EVERYTHING!!
The New Testament makes it very clear that salvation doesn’t have multiple standards; it has ONE: you give everything you are for everything Christ is. Salvation is not cheap; it’s priceless. It costs you everything you could ever accumulate! Yet the church in America has created “cheap” Christianity. We drive from church to church looking for the place where we can buy the “cheapest” version of the gospel that we can – the place where change isn’t required, our sin nature is accepted as “covered by grace”, and our flesh is most entertained without being forced to make any real change.
The two fastest growing Christian churches in history were the New Testament Church and today’s Chinese Church. Want to know what they have in common? You didn’t “sorta” accept Christ during the times of the New Testament writers. You don’t “kind of” become a Christian in the Chinese Church today. To accept Christ in either of those churches would likely result in an early and painful death. Whether it was sliding down a slide lined with razor blades or being blindfolded and executed before your friends and family, serving Christ in either of these churches was and is anything but “cheap”.
Yet, we discover that these two churches grew faster than their members could be killed off. They exploded with growth in spite of the cost of “membership”. It wasn’t God’s “free” gift of Grace those members were looking for. These Christians had to tap into the Grace that enabled them to give even their life for their faith.
So what do we do? We need a good slap in the face and some smelling salts waved under our noses so that we wake up and realize our true mission isn’t all about church socials and sing-alongs! We must challenge church leaders to raise our standard to ONE STANDARD: CHRIST. Don’t cheapen grace to the lowest level; raise it to the highest! When we cheapen grace by only tapping into it to allow for our lowest standards of Christian living, we insult the price paid by Christ when he DIED PAINFULLY on the cross.
Discipleship isn’t pleasant. It isn’t fun. It isn’t about joyful circumstances. It is about God’s grace to have peace, joy, love, and success when circumstances don’t make room for those things. It’s about living at the highest standard when your nature would drive you to your lowest standard. It’s about depending on His ability to do through you and for you what you couldn’t possibly do for yourself.
As long as you think you can get joy, peace, success, and love without His Grace then you can cheapen it. Only when you realize that YOU CANNOT COMPETE with the grace of God will you recognize its REAL VALUE!
If you think you can make it without Him, feel free. But God will not cheapen His grace to compete with your self-sufficiency. That’s why the church and Christians today have a form of Godliness but deny the power there of. We don’t see the church healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out devils, or changing the world because we have cheapened the power and cost, turning it into a competition between man’s wisdom and man’s grace and God’s. God will not lower the price of His grace. Jesus Christ said, “Except a man lay down his life, he will lose it, but he that loses his life for My sake, shall find it.” Nothing’s changed. God’s call for grace is still living a life of complete abandon to Him!
~Apostle David Coker